Sometimes it is hard for people to realize that stealing art on the internet is wrong. Just a couple of mouse clicks and an image is yours. Most people by now have got the hint that stealing music is wrong and are willing to pay $1.29 a song on iTunes, but haven't yet realized that stealing images is the same exact thing. You wouldn't grab a piece of work off the wall at a museum, would you?
To show how stealing art would be in the real world, ASMP New York put together this video and accompanying website. http://www.dontscrewus.org/index2.html
I checked out their website and these are just a few of their points in their manifesto:
#2 Just because a photo is posted on the Internet, it is not free. It wasn't put there so you can simply take it. It was put there to share an idea, promote talent and gain attention. You can't walk into a museum space or a gallery space and walk out with whatever strikes your fancy. Cyberspace is no different.
#4 Professional photographers are just like you. We have families to feed and mortgages to pay. Stealing takes food off the table. Times are tough enough thank you very much.
#7 That photo you are thinking of stealing took time to make. Sure the shutter snapped in a fraction of a second, but there are years of hard work, education and talent invested in it. Stop for a moment and consider that please.
#10 Some things were meant to be free. Human beings, primo parking spaces, unsolicited advice about your love life. And yes, even occasionally photos. Just ask.
By the way, none of this advice was prompted by anything that happened to me. I put my art up for display in the internet knowing full and well that some people don't get this concept. However, there are many people out there that appreciate looking at art and sharing creative works, so I am happy to take that risk and share my work with you all. I just wanted to share this as a reminder so that you might stop and think the next time you want to grab in image "just for facebook" or "just for my blog". I know it seems harmless and most times, photographers will happily let you use an image if you just ask and offer to give proper credit.
Okay, enough preaching - now go enjoy looking at some awesome art out there and hey, why not buy some too? You know that one wall is totally bare at home, right?